Dharmakirti

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Dharmakirti
Dharmakirti
Dignaga and Dharmakirti
Dignaga and Dharmakirti

Dharmakirti (ca. 7th century), was an Indian scholar and one of the Buddhist founders of Indian philosophical logic. He was one of the primary theorists of Buddhist atomism, according to which the only items considered to exist are momentary Buddhist atoms and states of consciousness.

History

Born around the turn of the 7th century, Dharmakirti was a South Indian Brahmin and became a teacher at the famed Nalanda University, as well as a poet. He built on and reinterpreted the work of Dignaga, the pioneer of Buddhist Logic, and was very influential among Brahman logicians as well as Buddhists. His theories became normative in Tibet and are studied to this day as a part of the basic monastic curriculum.

Writings

  • The Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition:
    • Saṃbandhaparikṣhāvrtti (Analysis of Relations)
    • Pramāṇaviniścaya (Ascertainment of Valid Cognition)
    • Pramāṇavārttikakārika (Commentary on Dignaga's 'Compendium of Valid Cognition')
    • Nyāyabinduprakaraṇa (Drop of Reasoning)
    • Hetubindunāmaprakaraṇa (Drop of Reasons)
    • Saṃtānāntarasiddhināmaprakaraṇa (Proof of Others' Continuums)
    • Vādanyāyanāmaprakaraṇa (Reasoning for Debate)

Philosophy

Dharmakirti presents most of his ideas in the guise of commentary on Dignaga's works, even if his theories go beyond what was presented by his predecessor. Some of his ideas, like his proof for the authority of the Buddha's words, are innovations, for Dignaga considered language just as fallible as inference.

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